Direct observations of coupled interactions between near-ice ocean stratification and ice slope and morphology in basal terraces beneath Thwaites Glacier
- 1Department of Astronomy, Cornell University
- *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract
Here, we present detailed ice and ocean data from beneath Thwaites Eastern Ice Shelf, Antarctica, collected with the underwater vehicle Icefin as part of the ITGC MELT project. The observations are a subset of the full data set that focus on the ice-ocean interactions within several well-sampled terrace formations occupying the ice base. These terraces range from 0.50 to 6 m in height and up to 100 m in width. We present measurements of ocean conditions to within centimeters of the ice surface along flat terrace roofs and their steeply sloping sidewalls. The ocean observations are combined with ice base elevations and scaled morphological melt patterns in the ice to understand the dominant mechanisms driving ice-ocean interactions within these features. We then input these data into the three-equation melt parameterization to estimate spatial variability in melt rates within these topographic features. We test various parameterizations for ocean heat flux into the flat and sloped ice surfaces, and compare the results to melt rates sampled along a nearby terrace sidewall and roof with a phase sensitive radar. This work in progress aims to better understand how ocean conditions interact with ice slope on small scales to drive variable melting in warm, highly stratified environments. We expect regions beneath much of the ice shelves occupying West Antarctica to interact similarly with the underlying ocean to what we observe beneath Thwaites Glacier. Hence, our observations hold relevance for how ice sheet models parameterize ocean-driven melting in this type of melt-driven regime.
B. E. Schmidt, C. Eayrs, P. E. D. Davis, K. W. Nicholls, D. M. Holland, J. D. Lawrence, K. L. Riverman, J.A. Smith, A. Spears, D. J. G. Dichek, A. D. Mullen, E. Clyne, B. Yeager, P. Anker, M. R. Meister, B. C. Hurwitz, E. S. Quartini, F. E. Bryson, A. Basinski, C. Thomas, J. Wake, D. G. Vaughan, S. Anandakrishnan, E. Rignot, J. Paden, K. Makinson
How to cite: Washam, P. and the ITGC MELT Team: Direct observations of coupled interactions between near-ice ocean stratification and ice slope and morphology in basal terraces beneath Thwaites Glacier, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-15683, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu23-15683, 2023.